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Sandy businesses offered help in fulfilling requirements

Throughout December, Sandy businesses have been getting notices from the city of Sandy and Clackamas County about recycling.

In 2008, an Oregon state mandate was passed by Metro saying businesses should be recovering 64 percent of recyclable materials from their waste. Until recently, Clackamas County has not been meeting that goal. After a study, it was found that businesses are sending into landfills 100,000 tons of materials that could be recycled.

Sandy, which was reluctant at first to do so, has finally adopted the ordinance.

The ordinance is a business recycling requirement that states businesses and organizations must recycle all types of paper and certain containers such as plastic bottles and tubs, metal containers and glass bottles and jars.

Recycle at Work, a program by Clackamas County and Metro, is aiding Sandy in its effort to fulfill the requirement. Recycle at Work’s first step was to send out the notices.

Each notice contains an employee recycling guide and postcard that businesses should fill out and return to Recycle at Work. It poses yes or no questions such as “Does your business have signs posted educating staff what can be recycled?”

After the postcards are returned, the action starts.

Shannon Martin, a sustainability analyst for Clackamas County’s Office of Sustainability, said it’s more of a technical assistance program than an enforcement program. In its time helping businesses in other cities, Recycle at Work has had a positive experience. There have been no complaints or enforcement action of any kind, Martin said.

Once the program has assessed the needs of businesses in the community, it offers resources to get a good recycling system set up. The program offers free recycling boxes to place under desks, and full-color ready-to-print posters and training to educate employees.

Of course, businesses don’t have to wait until the program receives their cards to get assistance. There is always the option to call and set up an appointment.

“That’s what we really want,” Martin said. “For people to call us and ask for help.”